Pool access key to water safety, YMCA official says
BY MICHAEL GONZALEZ Post-Tribune correspondent September 6, 2013 12:34PM
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:10AM
Access to pools is a lifesaver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Gary parks and YWCA officials said they are fighting staggering statistics.
According to the CDC website, the drowning rate for blacks was significantly higher from 2005 to 2009 than for whites and Hispanics, but access to pools and other swimming locations significantly decreased drownings.
“The minute you increase access to pools, you decrease the number of drownings by 30 percent,” said Gary Parks and Recreation Director Lori Latham.
Even with Lake Michigan as its northern border, Gary’s aquatics infrastructure has “serious cracks,” Latham said.
Tripling the number of outdoor public pools next year (to three) will help, Latham said.
The Gary YWCA has the only operational indoor pool in the city, said YWCA Director Caren Jones. Swim lessons are offered for a free, but children YMCA after-school programs get free lessons.
“We encourage people to come here and learn how to swim,” Jones said.